Blog Tour - Finding Home by Lauren Westwood plus Q&A

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Finding Home
By Lauren Westwood
Publication Date: 1st April 2016
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Pages: 329
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley

Amazon UK / Amazon US

If you save a crumbling mansion, will it mend a broken heart? 
A month ago, Amy Wood had her perfect home, her perfect boyfriend and her perfect job. Now she is broken-hearted, living in her parents' tiny bungalow, and working in local estate agents in Bath.

At least her new job keeps her busy. Rosemont Hall is a crumbling mansion riddled with woodworm, dry rot - and secrets. As Amy searches for the perfect owner to restore the house to its former glory, she begins to uncover pieces of the past that some people would rather remain hidden.

In her battle to save Rosemont Hall, Amy will encounter scary housekeepers, evil property developers and handsome American heirs - and will discover whether the secrets of the past can 
bring her closer to the future of her dreams...

Finding Home is a lovely novel about finding your place in this world. I loved reading about Amy and throughout the book I could imagine being her friend and wanting her to be happy. Amy has been looking for the perfect home to finally put down some roots with her long term boyfriend but when she views a lovely old-fashioned home so gets the surprise of a lifetime when her lovely boyfriend is there with another woman. 
Amy is heartbroken and suddenly she is thrown into a life of uncertainty with no boyfriend, home or idea of what will happen now. With everything up in the air, Amy knows she can rely on her job but when she make a mistake she can't even rely on that. 
It doesn't take Amy long to get back up and within no time she has a good job and is living with her parents, although her new job is taking up a lot of her time. Between looking after Rosemont Hall and the secrets that the old house hold, Amy is in for surprises and maybe just maybe a place to call home. 
Finding Home is a wonderfully written novel, that has everything you want in a book about finding home. With its likeable characters, historical homes and handsome strangers. It will make you wish it was longer as you won't want to leave the world that you have entered. 

Captivating, Amazing and Hopeful. 

23 Review Street:
Q&A with Lauren Westwood

Hi Lauren, thank you so much for being on 23 Review Street today! I have just read your book ‘Finding Home’ which is such a lovely book with amazing characters. So if people haven’t read it yet, they definitely should it is not to be missed! Now, down to the questions, which I have been excited to ask you.

Thank you for having me. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!

How did you come up with the plot for your book? Was it something you had planned or something more spontaneous?
I’d say it was a bit of both. Several years ago, my partner and I were looking for a home outside of London. We both love old properties, and we went to view a grade I listed Georgian house that was selling for what seemed like a ridiculously cheap price. We quickly discovered the reason for this – the house was in such poor repair that it was literally crumbling. It wasn’t a project that we had the ability to take on, but I fell in love with the idea of a house like that, and could imagine how a romantically-minded young estate agent might do so also. Hence, Amy Wood was created.
Beyond the idea, the specifics of the plot developed over time. In the words of Toni Morrison: ‘I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.’ Finding Home is intended to be a blend of mystery, romance and humour, as I love all those genres. Often times in today’s publishing world, a book has to ‘fit’ firmly within a particular box in order to be taken on. I’m particularly grateful to my publishers, Aria (Head of Zeus), for taking on something that’s a little different.  

‘Finding Home’ is a wonderfully written book, is it a stand-alone or are you planning on writing other books that would link in with it?
I’m currently at that nail-biting stage of finishing up the first draft of the follow-up novel, that hopefully will be out next spring. The working title is Finding Secrets. While it’s not a sequel to Finding Home, it has some similar characteristics, though perhaps more emphasis on the historical mystery aspect. The problem with writing a sequel to a romance, is that the hero and heroine have already ridden off into the sunset. With the new novel, I’m enjoying creating a budding romance between new characters – which, as a mum of three young kids, is about as close as I get these days to fluttering heart-palpitations!

What type of advice would you give other writers who are in the process of writing their first books?
Hmm, where to start? I would encourage anyone who is actively engaged in a first draft to turn off the inner critic. Get a draft finished with a beginning, a middle, and an end. This way, you’ve done it – you’ve written a novel – then all the rest is just editing!
I’d also encourage aspiring writers to join a feedback group – I took a night course at Birkbeck in London, and met other writers to share and critique work. Ten years on, we’re still meeting regularly. A writer must learn to take criticism and handle rejection. Unlike other ‘careers’, writing is a very personal thing. We all like to think that our ‘baby’ is the prettiest and cleverist child in the playgroup. It can be hard to hear that it isn’t. But any creative pursuit is a subjective thing, so people have their own opinions. In other words, to enjoy being a writer, you need a thick skin.
Finally, to the extent you can, read every day, and write every day. Somedays it’s harder than others. But try to keep going, and keep believing in yourself.

Everyone has a different type of day as a writer, what would yours be?
I wish I had a typical day! I remember in the beginning, I used to be able to closet myself away in my free time, and really ‘live’ my book in my mind. But for the last few years, I’ve had what amounts to 2-3 full time jobs – as a lawyer, a writer, and a mum. I’ve learned to write between no end of distractions – Disney films, runny noses, conference calls – even pulling over during my commute on the M25 to jot down some idea. The best days are the ones when I get up early and have an hour or two (and a cup of coffee or three) to write in quiet and solitude before the rest of the world wakes up. When I’m in the middle of writing something new, I try to do 500-1000 words a day.  I love writing first drafts – it’s the editing process that I’m afraid I haven’t yet learned to love. Structuring a novel can be a bit like a puzzle – even when I’m not in front of my computer, my mind is working in the background trying to sort out the pieces. Luckily, thinking is something you can do just about anywhere.  

If you had to sum up your writing style in three word, what would they be?
Imagine, write, re-write
Thank you so much for joining us today, I can’t wait to read your next book!
Thank you so much for having me and for reading Finding Home.
I love getting feedback from readers, and would encourage them to get in touch via twitter or my website.

Another day, another book, 

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